Hastings (WSYR-TV) With plenty of local racing fans, developers with the Central New York Raceway Park envision a 150 acre attraction with stadium seating, a restaurant and year-round racing. But, they'll have to fight for a green light to start building. The Town of Hastings hosted two "scoping" sessions on Wednesday night, to hear concerns from the public.
"This is a very rural area and people come here, live here because they want that type of atmosphere," said Janice Wilson who opposes the project.
The park would be built between Route 81 and Route 11 in Central Square. Debbie Bilellow, a village resident doesn't have an opinion about the plan yet. But, she does have questions.
"The race track is next to the middle school, the proposed race track. So, my concern would be how that impacts an already fragile education system," Bilellow said.
The Town of Hastings holds the keys to the raceway project as the lead agency, with the power to approve or deny permits for work. An environmental review is the first step in a long process that is likely to take months.
"The concerns raised by the board and the public so far seem to concentrate on noise, dust, lighting and traffic," explained Hastings Town Supervisor Jim Weatherup.
Developers are promising synthetic dirt and less intrusive LED's, developed locally. With help from a grant to reopen the Central Square rest stop along Route 81, they'd invite traffic right off the highway. Lawyer Scott Chatfield insists noise from the racecars will be minimized with strict muffler rules.
"We are not the typical stock car track that is outrageously noisy. That is not what we are about. That is not our proposal and we will be able to demonstrate that," Chatfield said.
If approved, the raceway could be a reality in May of 2014. Taxpayers hope the town follows the rules of a yellow flag and proceeds with caution.